Nordenholt's Million

From Radium Age

Nordenholt's Million

By J. J. Connington

Introduction by Matthew Battles

Afterword by Evan Hepler-Smith

As a bacteria threatens to wipe out humankind, a plutocrat sets himself up as the benignant dictator of a survivalist colony.





As a bacteria threatens to wipe out humankind, a plutocrat sets himself up as the benignant dictator of a survivalist colony.

In this novel originally published in 1923, as denitrifying bacteria inimical to plant growth spreads around the world, toppling civilizations and threatening to wipe out humankind, the British plutocrat Nordenholt sets himself up as the benignant dictator of a ruthlessly efficient, entirely undemocratic, survivalist colony established in Scotland's Clyde Valley. Discovering just how far their employer is willing to go in his effort to spare one million lives, Jack Flint, the colony's director of operations, and Elsa Huntingtower, Nordenholt's personal assistant, are forced to grapple with the question of whether a noble end justifies dastardly means.

Matthew Battles is the author of Library: An Unquiet History, Palimpsest, and Tree, as well as the story collection The Sovereignties of Invention. His writing on the cultural dimensions of science, technology, and the natural world have appeared in the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, and Orion. For Harvard''s metaLAB, he develops research into the dark abundance of collections, cultural and technology, and conditions of experience in the context of deep time.

Evan Hepler-Smith teaches the history of science and technology and environmental history at Duke University. He has a special interest in the history of chemicals and chemistry, information technology, and environmental regulation. His book in progress is entitled Compound Words: Chemical Information and the Molecular World. His writing has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal,, and Public Books.


$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262544283 394 pp. | 5.25 in x 7.875 in


Matthew Battles and Evan Hepler-Smith.


  • “I've been particularly looking forward to this installment of the [Radium Age] series.”— Andrew Liptak, Transfer Orbit


  • “The situations are tremendous, and there are horrors of all kinds. It is a thrilling book.”

    Daily Mail (1923)

  • “You may like Nordenholt's Million or you may detest it, but there is one thing I defy you to do, and that is to forget it.”

    Punch (1923)

  • “A capital yarn, in the Jules Verne-cum-H. G. Wells manner. Does infinite credit to the author's ingenuity.”

    Truth (1923)

  • “An extremely good example of the scientific romance.”

    To-Day (1923)

  • “I can't think of a more timely moment to reissue Nordenholt's Million, a chilling prediction of eco-catastrophe and the authoritarian regimes that can and do arise during such periods of chaos.”

    Douglas Rushkoff

    author of Team Human